Prepare for grandma story time.
It’s 1974. Our JCPenney home stereo (made by Magnavox) had a record player, AM/FM radio, and 8-track player and recorder. You could play a record and make an 8-track recording of it. I was not allowed to touch the stereo without permission.
I got a Dynomite 8 player for Christmas! The Kresge’s store had bootleg 8-tracks next to the cash register, and I picked up Queen as my first 8-track. None of the stores within easy bicycling distance had 8-tracks, and the only other ones available there were Glen Campbell and Elvis.
Great album, but I soon tired of it being the only portable album I owned. I had tons of records, and would love to have some of them as 8-tracks, so I decided I could talk my mother into letting me tape the albums onto 8-tracks, with her supervision. It worked. Now all I had to do was get blank 8-track tapes.
I figured my best bet was the mall. It had record stores there. But we didn’t go there just because I wanted to; no, there had to be a Reason. After all, it was twice as far as a trip to church. (This was during/after the oil embargo, which affected my parent’s gas purchases.) Eventually we had to make a trip to the mall for something, and I had my babysitting money in my pocket and a burning desire to find blank 8-tracks.
I tried all the record stores, and even the Wurlitzer store (I was desperate!). The guy playing the organ told me I could find them at the Audio-Technica store, which was somewhat near my high school. I made plans to stay at my best friend’s house overnight the next Friday, because she lived just a half-mile from Audio-Technica and went there regularly to listen to new albums in the rooms with the headphones. Bright and early Saturday morning, we headed to the audio store, where I found my blank tapes. $8.99 apiece. That was almost twice the price of an album! But I was committed. I bought one, listened to Steely Dan on the headphones, and went back to await being picked up to go home.
At home, I perused my album collection, and settled on 461 Ocean Boulevard. My mother gave me the instruction booklet for the stereo, and I recorded the album. Now I had 2 8-tracks!
The next trip to Kresge’s yielded Rush - Fly By Night and Led Zepplin 3. Over the years, I amassed about a dozen 8-tracks, some duplicates of records I had, because those blank tapes cost $4 more than a pre-recorded one, and $6 more than the Kresge bootlegs.
Then I met my first husband, and together we collected more than 400 8-tracks, because every one of our cars had an 8-track player.